Karl Miller wrote:

> And, knowing that the subscribers to this list are amongst the best in
> reformatting and restoration...I would wonder if anyone would like to
> share stories on recordings they have preserved that they consider to be
> treasures...things that, for reasons of the US copyrights, and the
> potential costs involved (legal and license fees, etc) cannot be made
> available to the general public. Recordings that may reside in private
> hands and/or have not been listed in any of the major bibliographic
> utilities.

If I can find the video clip, I shall violate copyright by making it 
available in some form. The program I recorded was part of a CLE - 
Continuing Legal Education - series then offered in the wee hours of the 
weekend by Court TV. The subject of the symposium was intellectual 
property and one attorney closed his presentation with a relevant cartoon.

The next speaker noted that she represented the cartoonist and that 
rights to the image had not been cleared with her or with her client.

In direct response to your question, one part of the issue may be what 
is meant by "available to the general public". Does a shop in Bologna 
count? A WWW site entirely in Japanese? A 'club' on the Internet whose 
members lend one another original off-air recordings? These are all 
representative of approaches taken to distributing classical (here, 
operatic) recordings some of which violate copyright in various 

There are various anomalies in the field as well. A British organization 
(Historic Masters, Ltd.) issues "78-rpm" recordings pressed from 
original metal parts. Most of their selections were fixed before 1923 
and many have never been published previously. My understanding is that 
since they were not previously issued, they are newly copyright in most 
of the world; but since they were fixed before 1923, they are in the 
public domain in the U.S.

An attorney in Brazil has researched Argentine law on intellectual 
property and finds that it is similar to that in the U.S. with two 
critical differences. It is similar in being based on the date of 
fixing, not of publication or issue and in failing to recognize a sound 
recording as fixing intellectual property until relatively recent times. 
The critical differences are that there is only such federal law to 
contend with and that the first year for which recordings are protected 
is 1985. Those interested in opera and the remarkable history of the 
Teatro Colon have profited from the availability of transcriptions.

I am in an unusual position here and recognize that others on this list 
do not have the freedom I do. On the one occasion when I was asked to 
"cease and desist" from publication, the cause was trademark violation 
in that I was 'promoting' my work with the company's name. There was no 
assertion of copyright violation though that was blatant; perhaps one 
reason is that many of the administration of the company were grateful 
to have the recordings which otherwise would have been lost.

In the reality of classical recordings, the penalty imposed on a 
publisher in violation of copyright is such a request or order; there 
are no recognizable profits on either side until one reaches the 
Naxos/Capitol level which is hardly under consideration here. My 
position has always been that I will comply instantly with any such 
request and absorb the minor losses that that entails. Those 
distributing the recordings I produce recognize that their efforts may 
also be turned off on some or all of the titles and accept the 
possibilities that that implies. Incidentally, I accept no payment for 
anything I do; I subsist on pension and insurance.

For an upcoming release, I have committed to offering two versions of 
the master. One will contain material which I have posted at my WWW 
site, but which in aggregate may provoke a cease-and-desist request. If 
so, the other master - without that material - will be used for further 
orders from the dealers. Since I assert no rights to what I produce, 
undoubtedly the extended version will proliferate through private 
copies. I not only tolerate but urge such dissemination.

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